I have lost count of the number of times someone has called my national radio show or emailed me asking about a tech myth.
Here’s one I’m asked quite a bit. Will charging your phone overnight ruin the battery? Tap or click for my final ruling.
What about this: “With all these data breaches, I have nothing left to protect.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Tap or click to find out what you need to safeguard, plus nine other cybersecurity myths you need to stop believing.
Then, there’s the cellphones and cancer debate.
I’ve always held the firm belief that you should never hold your phone up to your head for long periods. Ladies, don’t put your phone in your bra, and men should not put their phone in their front pants pocket. More about that later.
I’m not a scientist or a medical professional. My gut tells me that we won’t know the actual effect of the phone’s electronics on our bodies until many years have passed. That time has arrived.
It’s been a little over 14 years since the first iPhone was released that ushered in the smartphone era. The newest research into whether there is a direct correlation between cellphones and cancer is shocking.
This information is important. Share this post with your family and friends, too. You might save a life.
What exactly does the research say?
Over the years, there have been many different studies about the potential health impacts of cellphone radiation, from the earliest models to the latest 5G handsets, with mixed results. That’s why new research from UC Berkeley really caught my eye. It suggests there is a link between cellphone use and an increased risk for tumors, particularly on the right side of the brain.
As part of the study, Berkeley researchers looked at stats from nearly 50 other studies conducted worldwide, including in the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, and the U.K.
They found that if a person uses a cellphone for more than 1,000 hours over 10 years, the risk of tumor development increases by 60%. It sounds like a lot, but when you do the math, that’s an average of only 17 minutes per day. Their findings also showed usage of a cellphone for 10 or more years doubled the risk of brain tumors.
REVEALED: 5 answers to common tech questions
Here’s my take
While there’s been no direct response to Berkeley’s research, the FDA has long maintained that there’s no consistent scientific evidence of health problems caused by exposure to the radiofrequency energy emitted by cellphones.
That said, nine years ago, a friend of mine — an actual brain surgeon — gave me a piece of advice when I asked him what he thought. Never hold it up to your head. He said his colleagues were seeing an increase in brain tumors on the right side of the head.
I’ve passed that advice along for many years. Here are the steps I take to minimize the risk of cellphone radiation. These are good practices to pass along to kids, too, who often get their hands on cellphones at a young age.
Worried about a kid in your life and their relationship with technology? Tap or click here to see my Kids’ Tech Contract. It includes smart rules you and your family can agree on.
1. Don’t use your cellphone on a bus, train, or plane when your connection is low
Get this: Your phone emits more radiation, not less, when you don’t have a strong signal. Look at your phone’s bars. If that signal isn’t very strong, your phone is hard at work trying to connect to the network.
During these times, especially, keep it away from your head and body. Stick with texts or use headphones or a headset.
2. Default to speakerphone
I get it. You don’t want to have every conversation, especially in public, on speaker. It is an easy solution, though. I do this at home or in my car. When I’m out and about, or at the office, I turn to Bluetooth.
3. Use headphones or a headset
For most calls, I have my AirPods in. The audio is crystal clear, usually better than without headphones. Wireless earbuds connect to your phone via Bluetooth, which research shows may pose less risk than cellphone emissions. Wired headphones work, too, though they aren’t nearly as convenient.
4. Don’t store your phone on your body
As I mentioned above, bras and pockets are off-limits. I don’t like carrying a purse, but I like having my cellphone in my pocket even less. Small crossbody bags made to hold a phone can come in handy on vacation or for running quick errands. I like this one, and it has great reviews.
If you must carry your phone in your pants, consider a signal-blocking pouch. Yes, this will totally block your phone’s signal, so you won’t get calls or messages when it’s inside. More importantly, it will keep your body safe.
5. Don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow or near your head
This one is a no-brainer for a few reasons. Unless you sleep with your phone on Do Not Disturb, you don’t need buzzes, dings and lights interrupting your rest.
It can also be a fire hazard. Some people sleep with their phones under a blanket or even under their pillow. Phones are not designed to be covered like this for extended periods and need airflow for proper ventilation. Cheap charging cables can also lead to fires. Don’t take the risk.
One woman called my national radio show for help with a malicious stranger who stalked her daughter’s every move. Over time, the abuse escalated; the creep targeted her whole family, even posting the mom’s photos on risqué dating sites. Listen and learn how we unmasked the stalker!
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
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